Jacko refutes molestation charges on ''60 Minutes.'' And CBS now plans to air his postponed TV special on Friday

By Gary Susman
December 29, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

The child molestation charges against Michael Jackson are ”totally false. Before I would hurt a child, I would slit my wrists.” So said the singer in his first interview since his arrest last month, speaking to Ed Bradley of CBS’ ”60 Minutes.” In the interview, which was taped on Thursday at the Los Angeles hotel where Jackson is staying (he’s free on $3 million bail), the 45-year-old pop star took credit for helping his young accuser beat cancer with a ”mental program” and said he still doesn’t think it’s inappropriate for him to share his bed with children. ”If you’re going to be a pedophile, if you’re going to be Jack the Ripper, if you’re going to be a murderer, it’s not a good idea,” Jackson said. ”That I am not.”

In the interview, which aired Sunday night, Jackson also repeated allegations, first made by his brother Jermaine, that he’d been mistreated upon his arrest by Santa Barbara police. Authorities have denied the accusations, but Jackson said, ”They manhandled me very roughly. My shoulder is dislocated, literally. It’s hurting me very badly. I’m in pain all the time.” He also said that the 80 inspectors who raided Neverland in search of evidence trashed his bedroom and made his house unlivable. He said he was so traumatized by the search that ”I won’t live there ever again. It’s a house now. It’s not a home anymore. I’ll only visit.”

Bradley had been trying to land a Jackson interview ever since Martin Bashir’s ”Living With Michael Jackson” documentary (which featured footage of Jackson’s future accuser visiting the singer at Neverland) aired on ABC in February. Plans for a ”60 Minutes” interview had fallen through at least once. Last month, after molestation allegations were leveled against Jackson, CBS pulled a planned entertainment special that featured Jackson plugging his new greatest-hits collection. Now, however, CBS has rescheduled the special to air this Friday night. ”We wouldn’t have rescheduled the entertainment special if he hadn’t addressed the situation in the Ed Bradley interview,” CBS spokesman Chris Ender told Reuters.